Is Trump Playing into China’s Hands?Posted: December 20, 2016
China certainly wants to take Taiwan whether by force or any other means, but it is hard to deal with the aftermath of reunification with Taiwan if the reunification has not been achieved in a proper way especially by force.
When KMT was in power in Taiwan, there were prospects of peaceful reunification. It is sad that KMT has lost to pro-independence DPP (Democratic Progressive Party) in recent presidential and parliament elections in Taiwan.
China is pressuring Taiwanese President Tsai Ing-wen to give up her pro-independent stance. Tsai, though dare not shows her independent stance openly, has persisted in refusing to accept the one-China consensus between China and KMT.
China wants to bring economic pressure on Taiwan, but cannot do it too seriously for fear of upsetting Taiwanese people. It can only to some extent reduce the preferential treatments it has given to Taiwan that KMT has obtained from China through friendly negotiations.
Now, Trump has come out to help China with his intended change of US one-China policy. He gives China the excuse to put not only economic but also military pressure on Taiwan. The mere threat of taking Taiwan by force will frighten funds and talents away and entirely crush Tsai’s hope for drawing in external investment to achieve economic growth.
China’s seizure of US drone shows that it does not fear a war with the US.
What about a trade war?
China is carrying out a reform for consumption-, innovation- and creation-led economic growth, but in the past decades of reform, China has traded market for technology in dealing with developed Western powers. The US as the strongest Western power has been benefited the greatest. It has obtained monopoly positions in quite a few sections of Chinese market, including that of airliners, mobile phones, fast food, soft drinks, pharmaceutics, cosmetics, etc.
China has to recover those sections of market to increase consumption of domestic products and encourage innovation and creation.
If there is a trade war between US and China, China will take back from the US substantial parts of its huge market related to consumption, creation and innovation to facilitate its reform. It will lose quite a large portion of US market, but it is mostly the portion of market for China’s labor-intensive products. That is not a problem for China as China is moving labor-intensive industries to Cambodia, Laos and other backward Asian countries. It can export the labor-intensive products made by Chinese firms there to the US as products of those countries instead of China.
The following editorial of Global Times, a major Chinese official media, shows that China’s Xi is laughing in his sleeve at Trump’s challenge:
‘Unpresidented’ Trump adds fuel to fire
Source:Global Times Published: 2016/12/18 22:13:39
A Pentagon spokesperson said Saturday that Beijing and Washington have secured an understanding that China will return the captured underwater drone to the US. China’s defense ministry also announced the same day local time that Beijing had decided to hand over the drone to the US side in an appropriate manner. Meanwhile, China also expressed its discontent over the US military’s frequent close-up reconnaissance and military surveys within Chinese waters by vessels and aircraft.
In general, the military from both sides have exercised restraint. The two governments have shown their responsibilities in maintaining peace and stability in both the big picture of Sino-US cooperation and the South China Sea. Such an ending waved off concerns that the Chinese and US military might head for major crisis from a specific conflict.
Among US voices, the tweets by President-elect Donald Trump have added the most fuel to the fire. His initial tweet said “China steals United States Navy research drone in international waters – rips it out of water and takes it to China in unpresidented act,” in which he misspelled unprecedented, amusing American netizens. Later he posted another tweet saying “We should tell China that we don’t want the drone they stole back. – let them keep it!” He seemed emotionally upset, but no one knows what he wanted to say.
Trump is not behaving as a president who will become master of the White House in a month. He bears no sense of how to lead a superpower. Even the US military did not use the term “steal” to describe the move by the Chinese navy. Trump’s second tweet makes people worry that he will treat China-US relations as child’s play.
Now people don’t know if Trump is engaged in a psychological war with China or he is just unprofessional, even though he will be sworn in soon. Regarding the Sino-US relationship, he challenged the one-China policy and despised the principles which both countries have adopted to manage crises.
One thing for sure is that Trump has no leverages to maneuver the world, nor can he reshape China-US relations and the way the two major powers interact. Since he has not taken office, China has kept a calm attitude toward his provocative remarks. But if he treats China after assuming office in the same way as in his tweets, China will not exercise restraint.
It is possible that Trump is worried about his upcoming post and is eager to make waves against China so as to gain some leverage from China once he is sworn in. The Chinese government should be fully prepared for a hard-line Trump. We should show Trump what the one-China policy is and what bottom lines in Sino-US ties he should not touch. Once he does, he is bound to suffer the same losses that he makes China suffer from.
Note: This is Global Times’ editorial I reblogged here for readers’ information. It does not mean that I agree or disagree with the editorial’s views.